Benjamin Franklins Autobiography and Biography American Writers to 1865 Ben]amyl Franklin starts his autobiography with “Dear Son, I have ever had a Pleasure in obtaining any little antidotes of my Ancestors. You may remember the Enquires I made among the Remains of my relations when you were with me in England; and the Journey I took for that purpose (Franklin, 1771, p. 231). ” Franklin was sixty five when he started his autobiography and wanted to pass on his family history.
Part two of his autobiography started when friends contacted him while he as away in Paris nil 783 pleading for him to continue his writings about his life to influence others. Franklin did not set out to make himself known through his autobiography but the encouragement of his peers had him writing an autobiography and his thirteen rules of virtues are included and well known. He wanted to live a virtuous life and gave himself some basic principles to follow called Thirteen Names of Virtues. Franklin claimed to be a Deist but if you read his thirteen virtues he seems more Christian than Deist In his virtues he says “Imitate Jesus and
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Socrates (Franklin, 1784. P. 285). ” He Includes Socrates because he was a scholar and the revival of studying the classics began again during the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was the beginning of the worlds’ modern secular view and Franklins experience with religious leaders leads him to not want to be part of an established religious organization. I believe Franklin was far more Christianity than many people today who claim to be Christians but lack any Christian kindness in thought, word or deed.
He saw the Puritans and Calvinist and decided to embrace the secular scholarly world. While reading his writings I have not seen him curse God or denounce Jesus, he quotes the bible’s Proverbs, classical Cicero and Includes a few prayers. “O Powerful Goodness! Bountiful Father! Merciful Guided Increase in me that Wisdom which discovers my truest Interests; Strengthen my Resolutions to perform 1 OFF Return in my Power for thy continual Favors to me (Franklin, 1784, p. 287). ” I see him as praising God and asking for God’s guidance in his life.
I feel Franklin rejected the standard institution of religion because the Enlightenment encouraged logical seasoning, fostered new sciences to be discovered and progress was encouraged through invention. Franklins profession as a printer required him to report current events, new science and technology were always big news. New news meant more newspaper sales which helped support him and his family. While in England he helped print “The Religion of Nature Delineated, an Enlightenment tract that argued that religious truths were to be gleaned through the study of science and nature rather than through divine revelation.
With the intellectual spunk that comes from Ewing youthful and UN-tutored, Franklin decided that Williston was right in general but wrong in parts, and he set out his own thinking in a piece he wrote early in 1725 called “A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. (Caisson, 2003 p. 52)” The following year 1726 Franklin wrote the thirteen virtues he placed in his little book he carried everywhere. The virtues were guidelines he wanted to live his life by “1 . Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. 2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation. . Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time. 4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve. 5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; I. E. , waste nothing. 6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. 7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and Justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. 8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty. 9. Moderation.
Avoid extremes; forbear assenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. 10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanness in body, cloths, or habitation. 11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. 12. Chastity. Rarely use veneer but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. 13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates (Franklin, 1784, p. 285). ” Franklin discusses the system he practices using the virtues by critiquing himself at the end of everyday and checking off what faults he committed ACH day using his little book.
I find this a deep thought process that he is willing to admit his faults and try to improve his behavior toward his fellow citizens. Franklin was not against religion he found it was Just not to his taste to dedicate himself and time to listening to the religious leaders of his acquaintance. “Although divine revelation “had no weight with me,” he decided that religious practices were beneficial because they encouraged good behavior and a moral society. So he began to embrace a morally fortified brand of deism that held God was best served by doing DOD works and helping other people.
It was a philosophy that led him to renounce much of the doctrine of the Puritans and other Calvinist, who preached that salvation came through God’s grace alone and could not be earned by doing good deeds (Caisson, 2003, p. 54). ” Although Franklin did not subscribe to the normal religious tenants he believed in good works and treating others with respect. He practiced humility which made him an impressive statesman for America when he countries. He strove to encourage virtuous behavior in himself and others. One of he good works Franklin started was a subscription library.
He did not take the credit for the idea but said he was speaking for friends when he solicited new subscribers to the library and they responded more favorably to this method. The library system here in America was started by Franklin and he gave our nation the gift of knowledge and wanted the common person to be better educated. Reading Franklins’ biography and discovering it was his idea to start the first subscription library inspired me because reading is a my favorite hobby and I have passed this hobby to my children.